Friday, May 14, 2010

[USS Charon] Stardate 241005.14 - In The Details - CWO3 Oberic Sierra and Savant

[USS Charon]
Once the business with the Captain had been concluded, Oberic went to his quarters and requested the company of his new Intel Operative,
Savant. She appeared in the middle of his quarters without request or fanfare - just a simple hum of holoprojectors and a few stray rays of
light. She was calm and collected, looked pleased - and wore the black and grey of Starfleet Intelligence instead of her usual reds. Her eyes
gleamed with the faint sign of eagerness beneath her placid exterior.
Oberic sat down and started; "I've asked you here so that I can let you know about my talk with the Captain.  I have been given
permission...sorry - WE have been given permission to work together.  With that in mind, I have already let the computer know that you have
full Level 7-Alpha security clearance.  I am sure you already knew that, though."  He laughed to spite himself, wondering what made him think
that Savant wouldn't know everything that the ship's computer knew.  After composing himself, he finished his line of thought, "There is
something urgent that we need to speak about.  But first, I would like you to please access all records Level 7 and below, including personnel
records, and let me know when you're finished.  I realize this wont take long - hell you might be finished already."
The program responded immediately with barely a blink of time passing.  "I have established links to all data non-classified to my security
allocation. You have my attention, Sir; please continue."
"Before I begin," Oberic stated, "let me clarify something for you.  While I am fairly certain this wont affect you personally, I wanted to
make you aware that there will be people aboard this ship - and elsewhere - who won't like the idea of you being brought into an
operation run by Starfleet Intelligence.  The Captain has made it clear that she does not trust me, and I am willing to wager several ounces of
pure latinum that she doesn't like me.  I will proceed as directed, regardless of anyone's personal feelings - but I wanted you to
understand all that, in case anyone gives you flack."
He stood up, and activated a small computer screen.  After the logo for Starfleet Intelligence showed for a few seconds, the image was replaced
with some sort of rendering of what appeared to be a triangle made of stone and several colored jewels.
"If you know what this is, I would consider you to be the most well-informed being in the universe.  Very few people know of its existence; fewer still know what this device is capable of.  You are looking at our best guess as to the appearance of the Andorian artifact known as the 'Zum Viig' - roughly translated as 'Beginning of Life'.  It is some sort of psi-energy enhancer on a scale unheard of.  Imagine, if you can, being able to not only hear the thoughts of every sentient creature in the galaxy; but actually feeling every emotion experienced by each simultaneously.  Now imagine being able to select systems...entire races - and being able to eliminate them with a mere thought.  This is what happened nearly 300 years ago when a half Vulcan, Half-Romulan named S'Tev Lovok tried to use the device in order to murder.  His intention was to kill one person...he ended up wiping an entire race out of existence.  They were called the Atheri - and all that remains of them today are some exceedingly rare archaeological artifacts, and the memories of my people who had contact with them at the time."
He allowed a moment for the information to sink in.  He suddenly realized that he really didn't have to do that with Savant, since she had no emotions to really process with regards to the magnitude of what she'd just been told.  Still, it was polite to pause and allow questions. She *did* seem to ponder it awhile, though the expression on her face didn't change form that of the polite professional that she was.
"I do not have any local records regarding this artifact, though I am currently out of contact with the bulk of my memories. I find myself frankly surprised that an organic mind has the capacity to render that number of distinct entities simultaneously. Or, perhaps the problem is that it can't."
She paused another moment, enough time to draw a breath had she the need for it. "This artifact is highly valuable, along with the danger it
poses. I certainly hope that our mission is to secure and safeguard this device from further exploitation by the unprepared."
"You are correct about an organic mind not having the capability of handling so much input all at once.  When the device was first created,
it was only touched by Andorians, who seemed immune to its horrible power.  It is believed that this is not what they intended for the device - they were attempting to create some sort of healing apparatus; hence the somewhat optimistic name.  The destructive powers were only realized when the first non-Andorian was introduced to the device."
He gave it a few moments.  Savant was likely attempting to dig into whatever information was available, hoping to grasp at something that
would be helpful.  "Here's where things get complicated - and dangerous.  We have information about the Zum Viig having been located
by several former Tal'Shiar agents - who are now attempting to sell the device to the Breen.  The agreed-upon price is rather steep; ten
thousand bricks of gold-pressed latinum...which apparently they have.  The other piece of the equation is even more ominous...the Breen have
been developing a new version of their energy dissipater - one that would circumvent all known methods of counteraction.  Our only true ace
in the hole is that we believe the Romulans realize the potential of this device, and therefore are attempting to find a way to disable it prior to delivery.  So while the Breen are busy putting the finishing touches on the energy dissipater, the rogue Romulans have time to research.  So far - they've had no luck.  But needless to say, we need to locate them and retrieve the device before they decide to either use it, or find a way to sell it.  Thoughts?"
He was glad to be done with the bulk of the speaking.  Even though he was only talking to one person, Oberic would much rather be listening.
Savant was thoughtful, she paused several moments as if digesting his statements. This was closer to the truth than he might realize - she was
busily linking the new data points into her webwork of information, searching for correlations, scanning for similarities. Unlike a human, she didn't fidget or seem uncomfortable in standing still for the period. When she did speak, it was with confidence.
"I have a few resources with access to Romulan networks that can assist our search. How will the mission be conducted? Will we act by proxy, or
will you take a shuttlecraft to conduct the search personally? Also, what role would you like me to play in your operation, sir?"
"For the time being," he began, "I have several assets in key locations ready to react to any leads we come up with.  We have a few teams in the
field attempting to locate the Romulans, and there is an Excelsior-Class refit called the "Andropov" which is tasked to Intel and is never too far
away.  If we find anything encouraging, we send them to verify.  Eventually, I will have to depart and handle the device itself, since I
am one of a handful who can do so safely.  And it's my op - so I want to be there when we finally put an end to this.  As to your role in all
this; you are to be a sort of junction between myself, the field teams, and our designated runner, the Andropov.  The teams will likely stumble
upon a lot of intel that is unrelated to our operation - all such information is to be rebounded back to the Directorate of Starfleet
Intelligence so they can analyze and carry forward if need be.  Anything you determine as pertinent to this operation - which has been dubbed
"Nightfall" by the powers-that-be, will be condensed into a report and brought to me.  This may seem like a stupid question...but can you
physically be in more than one place at a time?"
Pieces fell together in Savants' vast and dissociated mind.  Organizations fell into place, various pieces of the operation grew relationships to the other. Like a blastocyst spinning itself into a new life, the plan gained its own momentum. She replied to him as this happened. "Operation Nightfall it is, Sir. I am operating thirty-seven rendered instances as of last count, Sir. I would conduct a fresh count for you, but we are currently not within contact range of the Federation communication network."
She smiled slightly as she saw the neurochemicals of disbelief tumble through his brain - they disappeared shortly thereafter, to his credit.
"I am a network, Sir. It's to be expected."
"And it is indeed expected, my friend.  Which is why you are here and currently running through more data than a thousand intel analysts could
manage in a year.  As for communications...access the Andropov's communications protocol directly - we have authority and they have been
informed we would be doing so.  Use the code 'Beta-Four-Zeta-Seven-Five-Theta-Rho-Chi-Four-Kappa-Epsilon-Nine-Gamma-Mu-Seven-Omicron-Iota-Pi-Omega-One-Enable'.  You will be able to utilize the Intel subspace communications network which is somewhat faster than the standard...but I am sure you knew that already.  But yes, get in touch with the Andropov computer and use it as you see fit.  You can locate their precise coordinates in the Intel Logs which you now have access to."
She logged the code and registered a new trigger within her own program to access the database once Charon returned to communication range. Getting back into contact with that network frankly excited her - while it was nowhere near the scope of M64's awe-inspiring Ansible network, every little bit helped when one was smeared bodily and mentally across scores of sectors, as she was.
Oberic realized he had been pacing around the room a bit.  This was a typical mannerism for him when he was deep in thought.  He snapped back to reality and concluded his thoughts.  "Savant - with the information currently on hand, do you believe that the Charon has a vessel which
would suit me should I need to depart...or one that could be modified to do so.  It would have to be a ship that the Captain wouldn't miss too
She lifted a hand; above her palm bloomed the hologram of a runabout class shuttlecraft. It spun gently as the craft specification scrolled
by beside it. "I would suggest the Eratosthenes, Sir. Up to six passengers, capable of warp 9.875, with a deployment range of two months. A highly qualified craft. She is stationed aboard USS Hermes as of last contact, and I think I can swing her requisition."
"Incredible..."  He sat down and was just about to side-track himself thinking about how much things had changed for the Federation's ship
designs since the 2100's when he pulled himself back to the moment.  "Beauty.  All right, Mister Savant.  Do me the favor of recalling the
Eratosthenes.  Hopefully we can get her back here before we're too far away.  The Eratosthenes will be our backup plan, so to speak.  Let the
Antioch know that they can proceed with sending along the Koragh.  I want her to shadow the Charon without crowding anyone or being too
obvious.  They are to remain cloaked unless we specify otherwise, and are to keep on silent running.  And before you ask, yes that is what you
think it is - B'rel Class, and yes it has been heavily modified since we umm - borrowed it from a rather unfriendly Klingon family.  The final
specs were never logged for...well, a few reasons."
She nodded, "You needn't explain those details to me, Sir. I understand." Oberic gave Savant a half second to pull up whatever
information she would be able to access about the Koragh - then he went on.
"Ok, so her four pulse disruptor cannons and four basic disruptor cannons are putting out around 60,000 terawatts worth of ouch; there are
two triple-fire torpedo tubes - one fore and aft.  The targeting system has been upgraded to something less...well. less Klingon.  Shield
capacity is now over two million terajoules; she is equipped with a heavy duranium/tritanium double hull and has fifteen centimeters of
ablative armor besides.  Basically, she can hold her own so far as defense is considered - the ship wasn't refitted with the idea of being
aggressive, but rather stealthy, and able to take a beating while attempting escape and evasion.  She can maintain warp 9.5 for up to 12
hours, so she should be able to stay within earshot of us.  I'll let you handle the details since your mind works in ways I will never comprehend.  The goal should be to have the Koragh close, but not too close.  Distance and such can be coordinated between you and the computer of the Koragh.  Do not, under any circumstances, communicate directly with any of her crew.  All right?"
Indeed the old engineer in him had taken hold as Oberic rattled on about the modifications he oversaw aboard the Koragh.  He had been dying to tell someone about the work done to her over a period of a year and a half; and with a captive audience...he couldn't help himself.  He sat
back, proud of himself and rather happy at the moment - thank you very much.
She let him disgorge his engineering specifications upon her, silently adding and compiling them with the information she had already began to
uncover. The additional security clearance was doing wonders for her processing speed - whole banks of computers that were fresh for the
picking. The hologram smiled. "I will communicate via proxy, Sir. Are there any special preparations I will need to make?"
"None that are obvious to me at this point.  I am placing my trust in you to handle any issues that arise.  Should you need me for clarification or access permissions - you know where I am.  I think that's all for now...unless you have any other questions."
She inclined her head towards him, "I will begin my investigation immediately Sir. I'll have a briefing docket for you in the morning."
and then the hologram disappeared with a faint pop of the ears and a fizzle of sparks.  Oberic stood for a moment staring at where she used to be - before turning around and tapping into his computer console.  A few moments and several encrypted connections later, and he was staring into the faces of a Klingon HoD and a Starfleet Commander.
"Gentlemen - I am happy to report that we have gained the cooperation of a most valuable asset.  Captain Rehu has approved Savant for duty with regards to Starfleet Intel.  What is the status of the Koragh?"
The Klingon was the one to answer, "Seems smarter than I had given any Romulan credit for.  Your people are insane allowing a Romulan woman command of a federation starship.  But I suppose she isn't our problem.  The Koragh stands ready to provide whatever assistance is required of us.  Commander Hauptmann and myself have whipped this rabble into can see the thirst for battle in every set of eyes."
"A most encouraging thought, Captain Tora.  Savant will communicate through the ship's computer directly, she has been ordered not to speak with anyone on the Koragh directly.  Your existence as a joint-operation is classified a bit higher than what I could approve for her right now.  Commander Hauptmann...have we any further news from the Andropov, sir?"
The human commander took a step forward.  The small viewscreen on the Koragh was a bit too crowded for his taste.  "The Andropov is currently steaming toward another lead.  There have been no change in the orders; keep doing what you've been doing, and we will get in touch via Savant should the need arise."
"Understood, sir.  Fair winds and following seas, Commander.  HoD Tora...Dubotchugh yIpummoH.  Qapla'!"
Chief Warrant Officer 3 Oberic Sierra
Intelligence Operator, USS Charon